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I Belong

Review: Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Title: Keeper of the Lost Cities

Author: Shannon Messenger

GenreMiddle Grade Fantasy

Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities (Book 1)

Publication Date: October 2, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 488 pages

ISBN-10: 1442445939 (Simon & Schuster Kids)

ISBN-13: 978-1442445932 (Simon & Schuster Kids)

Reviewed by: Kayla


In this riveting debut, a telepathic girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world—before the wrong person finds the answer first.

Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. And Sophie has a secret—she’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she’s not alone. He’s a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. Fitz opens Sophie’s eyes to a shocking truth, and almost instantly she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.

But Sophie still has secrets, and they’re buried deep in her memory for good reason: The answers are dangerous and in high-demand. What is her true identity, and why was she hidden among humans? The truth could mean life or death—and time is running out.

Quick & Dirty: A girl with many gifts learns she’s not only an elf, but an elf raised by humans for the purpose of a rebel group, the Black Swan.

Opening Sentence: Blurry, fractured memories swam through Sophie’s mind, but she couldn’t piece them together.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Sophie always knew she was different. I mean, how many 12-year-olds are in high school? It isn’t until a field trip to a local museum that Sophie starts to realize there could be something more to her telepathic abilities. Thrown into a colorful world of special abilities and mythological creatures, Sophie starts a new life as a student in a prestigious elf school. But even with her new friends by her side, odd and mysterious things keep happening. Something bad is about to happen – and Sophie is right in the middle of it. Full of adventure, Keeper of the Lost Cities is a fun and high-stake story about friendship and trust, discovering who your friends and enemies really are and what a little bit of faith can do.

For a middle grade book, I would group this with the Percy Jackson series and Artemis Fowl. This book is filled with hilarious and witty characters, a twisty-plot and a gorgeous world of elves and magic. As a high schooler, I still found myself laughing and sympathizing with the characters.

Sophie in the human world is a child prodigy. She has a photographic memory and just so happens to be able to read minds (not that she tells anybody this). I feel bad for her as she’s thrown all of a sudden into the elf world without a single glance back to her human family. She’s just there one day and gone the next. Of course this is hard on Sophie because now she lives with adoptive parents that seem a bit distant. Although she’s 12 years old, she’s still relatable. Actually for a 12 year old she’s very strong willed, yet still vulnerable, reminding us that she’s still a kid who totally up and moved from one world to another.

And there’s still a bit of romance in this middle grade book. Nothing steamy, just something cute and light-hearted. Despite the misleading synopsis above, this book mainly focuses on Dex, a nerdy and protective boy from Sophie’s school. He obviously has a crush on Sophie, but she has a crush of Fitz, a child prodigy in his own way and also the son of Sophie’s protector (for lack of a better word…maybe lawyer is better?) Nothing happens (They’re 12 for peat’s sake), but it is cute.

Overall, this is a pretty entertaining book with a slow beginning (just until she finally gets to the elf world). There’s plenty of twists, and the way the school works sort of reminds me of Harry Potter. Beware: although not a major cliffhanger, the plot line is still left hanging.

Notable Scene:

“On your marks!”

Sophie’s hands clenched into fists. If she was going to beat Fitz, she was going to have to give it everything she had–and then some.

Adrenaline surged through her veins. The murmur of the audience faded, and she became aware of another buzzing in the back of her mind, like a back-up pool of energy she’d never noticed before. It felt stronger than the other energy. Could she draw from there instead?

“Get set…Splotch!”

Sophie threw her hands out, pushing toward the splotcher with her mind. Her brain seemed to stretch, like someone snapping a rubber band, and her ears rang, but she didn’t break her concentration.

She felt her force meet Fitz’s and rebound. The next thing she knew, she was flying backward across the room. She caught the surprised look in Fitz’s eyes as the same phenomenon happened to him.

For a long second she was weightless, then her back collided with the wall and the wind was knocked out of her. An almost simultaneous crash told her Fitz had met the same fate.

Pain shot through her whole body and she collapsed. The last thing she saw was Fitz crumpled on the floor. Then everything went black.

Keeper of the Lost Cities:

1. Keeper of the Lost Cities

2. Exile (October 1, 2013)

FTC Advisory: Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing provided me with a copy of Keeper of the Lost Cities. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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